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Cold In July

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,065 ratings  ·  249 reviews
Richard Dane shoots and kills a gun-wielding burglar in his living room. It's clearly a case of self-defense, but the dead man’s father, Ben Russel, doesn't see it that way. Russel wants to extract Old Testament-style justice: an eye-for-an-eye, a son-for-a-son. Straightforward menace takes a 90-degree turn, though, when certain unexpected truths come to light, and soon Da ...more
Paperback, 234 pages
Published October 24th 1996 by Indigo (first published August 1st 1990)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  2,065 ratings  ·  249 reviews

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4.5/5 stars!

It's July, but it's anything but cold here in New England. In fact, we're smack in the middle of a nasty heat wave, so it was a great time to park myself by the pool and read. COLD IN JULY was perfect for the occasion.

Hearing a noise during the night and grabbing his gun to go investigate, Richard Dane ends up killing an intruder in his living room. Understandably he's rattled and feeling a bit guilty. As such, he decides to attend the funeral of his victim and winds up meeting the
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The father (Sam Shepard) of a Texas mobster, a man (Michael C. Hall) trying to protect his family, and a southern-fried private detective (Don Johnson) from Cold in July (2014)

I kind of messed this by seeing the movie first. It is mostly the same story.

The book gives Ann a slightly more significant role and leaves out that unexplainable incident with the police. Lansdale takes places with an all-father approach to your responsibility as a parent.

Paquita Maria Sanchez
Well. This just fucking rules. Shootemups and badguys turned goodguys and goodguys turned badguys and snuff films and twistyplots and crooked feds and tough, mean dudes who look (in my head) like Danny Trejo, and all that stuff that makes crime fiction fun, but with more to it than bam-bam and dames and bam-bamming dames and dames getting bambammed. It's a smart little study of suburban malaise, nature/nurture, parental ineptitude and the dynamics of male relationships, tucked inside what appear ...more
This is a re-release of a book published in 1989 tied to the movie version coming out. It is the tale of an ordinary man whose life is shaken up by a crime that threatens his family who then becomes obsessed with resolving a mystery and proving himself in the sphere of violent action. It taps into feelings of purpose behind protecting home and hearth and forces you ask how far you would go to seek justice.

Richard runs a framing shop in rural East Texas. The first scene has him waking at night i
It's pretty well-known by this point that Joe Lansdale is probably the most versatile author out there, able to successfully jump at whim between so many genres and make it all seem so fresh. Cold in July is a straight -up crime thriller, with a completely different feel and tone from other books I've read by him, including his recent westerns or the comedic adventures of Hap and Leonard.

The novel is initially about the clash between family man Richard Dane, who kills a man trying to burglarize
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
COLD IN JULY starts out with a bang - literally - when everyman Richard Dane is forced to shoot an intruder intent on robbing and possibly murdering his family. Never having murdered someone, Richard is having a hard time of it. He's replaced the bloodstained couch and painted the wall but he still can't forget that awful night.

Overwhelmed with guilt, he attends the funeral of the small time crook and is spotted by the dead man's dangerous ex-con father. Dear old Dad is none too happy with his s
Larry, Moe, and Curly plan a murder

Serves me right for choosing a book based on the title. This was my 2020 monthly pick for July for obvious reasons. Now, I am not a habitual reader of thrillers. I almost always find them at least faintly ridiculous because of their over-the-top action, people doing and getting away with outrageous things. This one for me descended to slapstick. I thought for a while that the author was perhaps going for humour, but other reviews and the afterword seemed to ind
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Metamorphosis is a term used to describe the process whereby a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. It is also a term for what Lansdale does with Cold in July, a novel that starts out in a suburban father's worst nightmare. Woken in the dead of night by an intruder, he shoots the intruder right through the eye. Shock and guilt give way to fear as the burglar's father vows revenge upon being released from prison. Then the story flips as Rick busts the ex-con father out of jail, and they join forces w ...more
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Note: I first wrote this review in 2010 when I first started reviewing books at Goodreads. It was a brief review simply for the fact I read the novel in the late 90s and the details were not as vivid at the time. Now, thanks to the release of the film in 2014 and the rerelease of Cold in July> by Tachyon Publications, I was encouraged to read it again. The first part of this review are my first thoughts in 2010 followed by my new assessment.

This hard-nosed thriller by Joe R. Lansdale is easy to
I received this from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not sure how to rate this one, so I'm going with a middle-of-the-road 3 stars.

It's a reissue of a book Joe Lansdale wrote in 1989, early in his career. It's divided into three distinctly different sections all tied together by a couple of significant events and several really bad decisions.

I struggled with this a little bit, maybe because it wasn't as clean as his other books (i.e., Hap and Leonard), possibly because it was an
Steve Vernon
Dec 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I met Joe at a New York horror convention. He gave me a copy of this and told me it was his personal favorite of all he's ever written. It's a helluva read from a helluva nice guy. ...more
Frank Errington
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review copy

While it's true I haven't read all of Joe R. Lansdale's books, I've read enough to know I love his stuff. Whether he's being serious or off the wall, there's always a level of believably in his stories.

I guess you could call Cold In July a crime novel, but it certainly has elements of horror. Not monster horror. Real horror. The horror we read about in the newspaper or watch on the nightly news. The kind of horror that makes any sane person ask, "How could someone do something like th
Manuel Antão
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

My second Lansdale, right after reading “Hot In December” (reviewed here).

The hard-boiled crime fiction's main characteristics are cynicism, toughness in difficult situations, and a wise-cracking sense of humor, as well as the desire to see justice fulfilled. I got plenty of that with this novel…

The vast majority of Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction being published today is utter crap.

When I hear people talking about “hard-boiled,” what the
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
With every new Lansdale I meet I am amazed afresh at his ability to tell a great story, a story that's dark and twisted and terribly human, a story with interesting characters and authentic feeling locales, a story that grips and entertains and makes you ponder what life is all about, basically genre writing at its finest. And Cold in July is all of these things, despite seeing the fantastic movie several times there's plenty to be discovered and enjoyed within the pages of Lansdale's writing, a ...more
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
COLD IN JULY is one of those books that fools the reader into a false sence of security before sweeping the rug out from underneath. Initially resembling a run of the mill crime novel, COLD IN JULY treats the reader with three distinct acts/stanzas, all a natural progression from one another. Beginning with a home robbery, then turning private eye, to ending a violent vigilante, COLD IN JULY provides three distinct reader experiences each as good as the other.

Woken by the sound of an intruder, h
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
I liked this gritty novel, it’s a classic hardboiled crime fiction piece. I can understand that, because of the violence involved, Lansdale may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really like his dark writing style.
This novel deals with intense father-son relationships, Russel is an ex-con with a peculiar sense of justice, when he learns that his son Freddie has been killed while carrying out an home invasion he wants revenge, however (view spoiler)
Sep 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting short noir tale by Joe Lansdale written very early in his illustrative career about a family man who shoots a burglar in his home one night in self defense. The dead burglar is then mysteriously misidentified by East Texas cops and the just released, ex-con father of the misidentified dead burglar shows up in town seeking revenge on the guy who shot and killed his long abandoned son. Good concept, characters and dialogue but slow pacing dragged down the action and final showdown, in ...more
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid read. The strengths of this book are in the originality of the story and the willingness of Lansdale to constantly make sharp turns never letting the reader predict the direction the story will take.

The characterization is good, if not always fully developed, but the pace of the story and the surprises throughout make for a really enjoyable read.

A fun, quick read that deserves to be rediscovered.
David Agranoff
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great early crime novel by Lansdale, full review coming. The narrative was not as sarcastic as I have know later Lansdale to be.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, lansdale
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley to read and review.

COLD IN JULY by Joe R. Lansdale is a story that was made into a movie of the same title, which was directed by Jim Mickle, who writes the introduction to this edition released with an afterword by the author.

Richard Dane is awakened by his wife Ann when she hears something in the night, and after listening he hears the glass sliding door being opened at the rear of their home, so he grabs the .38 snubnose and
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw a trailer for the movie and read positive reviews so I added to my DVD queue. I then found out it was based on a book so I got the book to read first before seeing the movie (which I have still yet to see). I love to read a book and then watch the movie based on it to see the difference and how it has been adapted.

This was a great read. A book about fathers and sons and their relationships. It was a good thriller/drama with three interesting characters who are different from one another in
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, short East Texas Noir novel by the great Lansdale. This is one fast, mean, thought provoking book. Lansdale reveals his talent for creating a twisting, turning plot that takes you by surprise many times and where nothing is quite what it seems. What makes his writing really stand out, however, is his humor, his elegant descriptions and his laser sharp eye for detail. An excellent little novel by an excellent writer. Highly recommended.
Ben Loory
pretty amazing (and disturbing) opening chapter about a guy confronting a burglar in his house... after that, the story gets a little rickety (and unbelievable), but the characters are vibrant and there's a LOT of energy and you really never know where it's going. lansdale's writing is full of startling little quirks. just wish the characters didn't talk quite so much. ...more
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2008
Great characters, a story which hooks you in from page 1. A dark tale of families and violence , which seems inherrent in these days, yet shot through with humour and colour.
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those of you unfamiliar with Joe, just pick one up and you'll be an instant fan. ...more
Craig Wesley Wall
I couldn't put this one down. My favorite Lansdale novel so far. ...more
Diane Hernandez
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
“Killing a man had not altered my appearance in the least.” states Richard Dane, part-time killer and full-time father in Cold in July.

Richard kills an intruder in his home in self-defense. When the victim’s father, Russel, comes for revenge, a strange friendship develops. It appears the police might have misidentified the intruder—possibly on purpose. Once Dane hires a private detective, Jim Bob, with a personality as big as the Texas setting, the twists just keep coming in this western noir.

Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know if it was a mistake to watch the movie first. I sort of liked having the characters' faces in my head as I started the book almost immediately after finishing the film (my review of the movie). The movie did a real hatchet job on the book and the director should be tarred and feathered for messing with the novel.

The big difference between the movie and the novel is that the novel actually makes some damned sense. OMG did the director/co-writer F up the film. The book is a taught lit
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crime just doesn't happen in the small east Texas town of LaBorde. It certainly doesn't happen to respectable people like Richard Dane and his family. Until that July night, Richard's toughest job was dealing with his young toddler son and his penchant for always spilling his milk. Then, that one night, he killed a man and everything changed.

Not that he had a choice. Not when his family, Ann and their four year old son Jordan, were at stake. Not when somebody had broken into their house located
Edythe Hamilton
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amy wakes her husband, Dane, in the middle of the night because she heard something. Dane goes downstairs to find an intruder standing in the living room. Shots ring out and the intruder is dead. Dane is still in shock the day of the funeral for the intruder, Freddy Russel. He goes to the funeral against police advice. There he finds the father of the slain criminal, Ben Russel (Russel).
Russel threatens Dane and his family because of the killing. Dane goes to the police and they really can’t do
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Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over forty novels and numerous short stories. His work has appeared in national anthologies, magazines, and collections, as well as numerous foreign publications. He has written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites. His work has been collected in more than two dozen short-story collections, and he has edited or co-e ...more

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